Gratitude. Such a simple word with so much power. Gratitude is the act of giving thanks and having an appreciation for the things in your life, either tangible or intangible. Research has shown that gratitude increases happiness, helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. Below is a list of five science-based reasons why gratitude is good for everyone in all settings.
With the hustle of the world today, it is so easy to get lost in the busyness of everyday life. Unfortunately, the busier we are, the less we actually pay attention to ourselves, our health, and enjoying the world around us. Below are three simple tasks to incorporate into your day to be happier, healthier and more satisfied.
I live in Minnesota. Today I was at the Mall of America with my two daughters. We were walking around the mall, along with thousands of other people, enjoying a carefree afternoon. Before we left, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat at the food court. It took us awhile, but we finally found an open table and sat down. As we were eating, I was looking around at the greatness of this mall. I was in the largest mall in the world. Over 40 million people visit this mall each year. Many of those people travel a great distance to get here, many even from other countries. Some of these visitors actually plan their entire vacations around this magnificent mall. I sat in the food court and noticed all of the people surrounding me, families with small children and strollers, teenagers hanging out with their friends, parents, grandparents, tourists walking around with their suitcases, every age, color, and nationality coming together at this great place…the largest mall in the entire world. That is when sadness overcame me.
I am a worrier. I have always been a worrier, it was a trait that I was born with. I feel if I know what the worst case scenario could be, then I can be more prepared in case it happens. Now that I understand more about the idea of manifesting, thoughts become things, and all of that good stuff this has definitely been a trait that I am trying to change.
Anxiety and fear are often words that are used interchangeably, but in reality fear and anxiety are two completely different things. The definition of fear is “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger.” Let me stress that last part, impending danger. Think about the whole fight or flight and caveman scenario. A caveman goes out hunting and a giant, hungry saber-tooth tiger jumps out at him. The caveman is now in a situation where he is experiencing a distressing emotion caused by impending danger. That, my friend, is true Fear! His body then does all kinds of amazing things, things he doesn’t even think about and in a split second the caveman makes the subconscious decision to fight or take flight. The caveman’s body responded to fear of impending danger. Fear is a productive emotion, based on the danger that is actually happening. Fear is needed for survival.
I have always loved writing. When I was in seventh grade my creative writing teacher wrote on my paper that my story was the best she had ever read. In college, my History professor gave me an A+ on my book review and said that in all of his years of teaching my book review was the best he had ever read. I was always proud of my writing and felt like the words would just flow from me. I have felt deep within my soul that I was born to write a book. I have read countless books about writing books, I have paid coaches and even psychics (lots of money!) to tell me I should write a book. I have even written down hundreds of ideas that I would include in my book. I knew my soul, my Higher Self, was yearning to write my book. Yet, when I finally made the leap to follow my soul and sit down and start writing, nothing came. My mind was blank, my words wouldn’t flow, I tried to type but nothing sounded right. All I could think of is that a seventh-grade paper doesn’t seem so impressive now. It was seventh-grade!! And what does a History professor know about good writing anyway, he’s a History professor! I know people who can write, they are good with grammar. They know how to use a comma correctly. I, on the other hand, can write an entire paragraph and only use one period and about 45 commas. Who am I kidding? I am not good enough to be a writer.
These, my friends, are my limiting beliefs. They are my ‘go to thoughts’ that allows me to stay comfortable when I try to do something scary and uncomfortable. They creep up in my mind when I am entering uncomfortable territory, and they prevent me from moving forward. We all have these beliefs, these things that hold us back and prevent us from being our best selves. I am sure if I asked you to close your eyes and visualize the life of your dreams right now you could probably come up with at least one BIG reason why you cannot/will not/ should not achieve that dream. Those, my friends, are your limiting beliefs.
A while back I had the amazing opportunity to chat with a local Career Coach. During our discussion, she asked me what I really wanted to be doing in my career. I told her all the amazing things that I would love to do. Write, coach, speak to groups, lead retreats, the list went on and on. Then she asked me such a simple, but powerful question “How many of those things are you currently doing?” Whoa, What?? Well, I think about those things all the time. I envision myself doing all of those things, I even almost attempted to do some (or one) of those things. But, actually doing…zero.
That’s when she told me those magic words we all know so well (thanks to Nike)…you need to just do it. She asked me how I know what my dream career looks like if I have never actually done it? How do I know I that would love to stand in front of groups of people and attempt to motivate them by my words? How do I know I would love to lead people on retreats? How do I know I would love to coach people to reach their highest goals if I have never tried? Huh, I never thought about it like that. But, she was right. Just because I majored in Speech in college does not mean I would still love standing in front of people and speaking. Maybe now public speaking has become another one of those crazy phobias I seem to develop as I get older! Just because I used to love to write doesn’t mean I still enjoy it. Yikes! I guess it was time to stop dreaming and start doing! I needed to find out if my dream career really was still my dream!
Recently I had a rough week. I had a birthday and a pretty significant one at that. My car got broken into, my husband and I had a fight, and one of my students changed my last name on my classroom door to something not very nice. I felt like Alexander in the children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
My fortieth birthday was on a Tuesday. My entire day consisted of people telling all the terrible things that would start happening now that I turned the big 4-0. Apparently, I was going to start gaining weight without being able to take it off, I was going to start growing hair in places that I didn’t want to grow hair, while the hair on my head was going to start getting thinner. My eyes were going to go bad, my knees were going to get weak, and my libido was going to disappear. Awesome.
I love being a mom. I love spending time with my kids, going on adventures with them, cheering them on in all of their events/sports/activities. I also love the hugs, kisses, cuddles, smiles, laughter, and I especially love the “I love yous.” I love being the one that can make them feel better because sometimes they just need their mom.
But, to be honest I don’t love all parts of being a mom. I don’t love always cooking for them, cleaning up after them, running them to all of their events/sports/activities, doing their laundry, refereeing all of their arguments, being the ‘bad guy’ when they don’t get their way, always telling them ‘No’, yelling at them, hearing doors slam, being talked back to, being the one they take everything out on because I am their mom. Being a mom is hard.